How to Make a DIY Coat Hook for Your Home

DIY Coat Hook That Is Easy to Build

DIY Coat Rack
Lee Wallender

Are you tired of coats and backpacks strewn all over your house's entryway or mudroom? Tame that mess with this beautiful walnut DIY coat hook.

Sized to attach to wall studs, this 20-inch-wide coat hook is strong enough to hold three heavy winter coats or even a couple of lightweight jackets plus a school backpack, while remaining sturdily attached to the wall.

Inspired by a significant 1957 Frank Lloyd Wright home in California, this lean design is an elegant rhythm of squares and trapezoids. Set against a long, horizontal beam, its basic shapes are the perfect complement to other Arts and Crafts or traditional home elements. 

You will be able to finish this coat rack in half a day, using basic tools that you may already own. Walnut or other hardwood options are preferable, both for stability and for appearance. Since the amount of materials required is so limited, it should be possible, within most budgets, to purchase fine walnut or other hardwood species. But if the cost is a concern, you can use a softer, less expensive wood such as Douglas Fir or hemlock. 

Troubleshooting

Because this coat hook is designed to span two wall studs, it is best to maintain the width recommended in this guide. Do not try to attach the coat rack to the wall with drywall wall anchors.

Safety Considerations

Sawing hardwood can be difficult since the wood is so hard and dense. Always be certain to wear eye and hearing protection with working with hardwood.

Project Metrics

  • Working Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Material Cost: $40 to $60

What You Will Need

Equipment/Tools

Materials

  • Wood glue
  • Danish oil
  • Walnut or other hardwood board, totaling about 30 inches long by 3 1/2 true inches wide
  • (2) 2 1/2-inch brass screws
  • (10) 1 1/2-inch brass screws

Tips for Making a DIY Coat Hook

  • Because you are working with hardwood, make sure that you always use a sharp saw blade on the miter saw.
  • Similarly, all screws should be preceded by pilot holes.
  • Danish oil can soak into clothing. Be sure to sparingly use the oil and to thoroughly rub it into the wood.

Measure the Board to 20 Inches

Measure Board to 20 Inches
Lee Wallender

With the tape measure and straight edge, measure out 20 inches of ​the board and mark it with the pencil.

Tip

Only lightly mark the board with pencil, as any marks remaining after the cut will need to be sanded out.

Cut the Board to 20 Inches

Cut the Board to 20 Inches
Lee Wallender

With the electric miter saw, cut the board to 20 inches long. Be precise about your cut. Place the cut board to the side.

Measure Out the Hooks

Measure 3 Pieces at 1.5 Inches Each
Lee Wallender

From the remaining board, measure out three pieces for the hooks. Each hook, at this point, will be a rectangle measuring 1 1/2 inches wide and as high as the board (3 1/2 inches).

Cut Notches in the Hooks

Place Hooks in Saw at 45 Degrees
Lee Wallender

Stack the three hooks on top of each other and place them in the electric miter saw. Rotate the saw so that it will make a 45-degree cut.

Tip

Be very careful about this cut as the saw will have a tendency to kick out the material. Block the material with waste pieces of two-by-fours to hold the material in place.

Coat Hook Notches: Close-Up

Coat Hook Notches: Close-Up
Lee Wallender

The notches for the hooks should end at about 1/2-inch from the end for a perfect replica of the Frank Lloyd Wright eaves design. Or you can experiment with different angles and find one that looks best to you.

Cut Two 2-Inch Squares

Cut Two 2-Inch Squares
Lee Wallender

From the remainder board, cut out two squares, each square measuring 2 inches by 2 inches.

Sand All of the Pieces

Sand All of the Pieces
Lee Wallender

With the electric sander and fine-grit sandpaper, or by hand, lightly sand down all of the wood pieces. Lightly round off the edges and corners. Do not round off too much of the wood since Frank Lloyd Wright designs are dependent on precise edges and corners.

Tip

To sand the small pieces, position the sandpaper flat on the workbench with the grit side facing upward. Keep the sandpaper in place and rub the work material against the sandpaper.

One way to help keep the sandpaper in place on the table is to tape it down with painter's tape.

Clean with a Tack Cloth or Damp Cloth

Clean with Damp Cloth or Tack Cloth
Lee Wallender

It is important to clean the wood before applying the wood finish. Wood dust and other debris embedded in wood finish will ruin the texture. Sawdust embedded in polyurethane is especially damaging; re-sanding is the only way to fix this problem. Use either the preferred method of wiping with a tack cloth or the alternate method of using a damp cloth.

Tack Cloth

Wiping down the wood with tack cloth is the preferred method because it will not wet the wood. Beeswax impregnated in the cloth grabs the dust and removes it. Keep the pressure very gentle. If you press too hard, you risk pressing the wax into the wood. Be sure to frequently unfold the cloth so that you are using a new section.

Damp Cloth

Since water can change the cellular structure of wood, the damp cloth must always be kept as dry as possible. Dip a clean cotton rag in clear water and squeeze it out as thoroughly as you can. When wiping, do not press hard. Let the rag ride lightly on the surface of the wood. Only a light pressure is required to remove the dust.

Attach the Hooks to the Board

Attach Hooks to the Board
Lee Wallender

The three hooks will be attached to the front of the rack, positioned so that each hook rises 1/2-inch above the top of the rack. This protrusion is necessary to give the coats and scarves enough room to hook onto.

Horizontally, the two outer hooks will be positioned inward 1/2-inch from each side. The middle hook will be positioned exactly in the center. Use the Speed Square to keep the hooks perpendicular to the board.

Screw the Hooks to the Board from the Back

Screw the Hooks to the Board from the Back
Lee Wallender

Turn the rack over, so that the back is facing you. Screw the hooks into place, using two 1 1/2-inch brass screws per hook.

Tip

With hardwood, always be sure to create pilot holes for the screws to avoid splitting the wood.

Add Holes to Hang the Coat Rack

Add Holes to Hang the Coat Rack
Lee Wallender

For ultimate stability, the coat rack needs to be screwed directly into wall studs. Because walls studs are typically 16 inches (on-center) apart from each other, drill two holes in the coat rack 16 inches apart.

Apply the Glue to the Squares

Apply Glue to the Squares
Lee Wallender

The two squares are purely decorative, acting as a visual balance to the three hooks. Since they will not be carrying any weight, you can glue these to the board, not nails or screws needed. Squeeze a small amount of glue to the backs of the squares.

Clamp the Squares and Let Them Cure

Clamp the Squares and Let Them Cure
Lee Wallender

Position the squares equidistant between the hooks, flush with the top of the coat rack. Clamp the squares. Leave the coat rack for at least two hours to fully cure.

Apply Danish Oil to the Coat Rack

Apply Danish Oil to the Coat Rack
Lee Wallender

Danish oil gives hardwood a lustrous, rich, natural look. Wearing latex gloves, apply the oil to the coat rack with rags, thoroughly rubbing the oil into the wood. Leave the coat rack in a dry, well-ventilated place for at least two hours for the oil to ​fully sink in.

Coating Your Coat Hook for Protection

Danish oil requires maintenance over time. Depending on how frequently you use the coat hook, you may need to wipe it down with a fresh coating of Danish oil once or twice a year.

To avoid this maintenance schedule, finish the coat hook in either water- or oil-based polyurethane coating. Water-based polyurethane cures faster and with less odor but is less durable. Oil-based polyurethane is highly durable but can take as long as a day or two to fully cure. 

Attach the Coat Rack to the Wall

Attach the Coat Rack to the Wall
Lee Wallender

Screw the coat rack into the wall studs, using two 2 1/2-inch brass screws. Use the bubble level or laser level to make certain that the rack is level on the wall.

Tip

If you decide to scale up your coat hook beyond 20 inches wide, be sure to attach the hook to the wall at three or more points.